Exciting times are in store as we’re back on the road again, or at least the Eurostar, for a day trip to Lille.
While France in general doesn’t have a great reputation as a destination for the beer lover, Lille itself is very much worth a visit, as we’ll hopefully see in the next couple of posts.
As capital of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, Lille is the heart of Bière de Garde country. The proximity to the Belgian border means we won’t go short of a Belgian tipple or two either. Like this one.
While it may seem a little odd to come to France to try something Belgian, where better to lay our hands on one of the less commonplace of the Leffe beers than at Café Leffe, just off the Grand Place. I used my very best French—a combination of pointing and hoping for the best—to commandeer a welcome cup of black coffee, followed by the house tartine and this, the 8.5% Leffe Triple.
Stronger and hoppier than the Blonde, which is very easy to find in the UK, the Triple is nevertheless an appealing golden honey colour. It’s a sight for sore eyes after an early start, that’s for sure.
It’s lovely stuff too. I’ve had this one in London and not been blown away, yet here, served with the correct glass at a table outside a very pleasant café, I’m convinced it tastes many times better.
Leffe Triple is in many ways a typical Belgian Tripel, the likes of which we’ve seen before. It’s sweeter perhaps, though roundedly and never cloyingly so, with those dried banana notes so characteristic of the style very much in attendance. It’s big and bitter too, but far from harsh.
That may be helped by the oranges added to the brew, while milled coriander seed adds a subtle heat, at first barely detectable yet building steadily as you work your way towards the bottom of the glass.
Which seems to happen surprisingly quickly, given the strength of the stuff, but never mind. It’s now chucking it down on the Grand Place, so since I’m a very happy camper sat here on the covered and heated terrace with my beer and my crossword, I think we’ll stay a little longer.
Thus, I followed this with the dark, rich Leffe Radieuse before wandering the rapidly drying streets to see what other beery delights this town might hold for us. I wasn’t disappointed.
Facts and Figures
|Café Leffe, Place Rihour, Lille, France